We see old stories about mythical things as immutable. Open to interpretation, changes for a basis of a new concept, but some old works stand as an eternal reference.
Bram Stoker made the vampire famous, and our modern concept on vampires is based largely on his book. But not entirely. Those who have never read Dracula might be surprised that sunlight does not kill him, or even seem to harm him in any way except to negate his ability to use magic.
What's the modern vampire? The buffyverse has pretty good vamps.. but the extreme face-shift thing is a little over stylized, and exploding into ash upon death is a little over the top. It works, however. Pretty darn good overall as a model of modern vampirism. True Blood's vamps are pretty solid too, though they add the twist of what their blood can do for humans, and what happens when one of THOSE vamps die. Ew. But again, a notable model for the modern vamp.
Sparkling vamps? Who are okay in overcast weather? Just insert your typical anti-twilight rant here, and I'll save us both some time.
BUT! I thought, IT IS OUT THERE. Sparkly vamps are documented now, they're a THING now, thanks to whazzerface.
In a few hundred years, when someone goes to the equivalent of Wikipedia, and ask for "Vampire", what will they see on the first page?
Bram Stoker's Dracula? Almost certainly.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Maybe a link to it, sure, why not?
Oh my god, maybe, yes.
Through the distant-future's view of the past, will Twilight be seen as SO FAR removed from Dracula?
It also got me thinking about what makes an authentic bit of lore, legend, or tale? Time? Is that it? How far it spread? The net spreads everything far, easily. Acceptance? Even if hate for Twilight were unanimous, it's made an impact either way. Even the fires of the harshest critic cannot remove some stains, at most, leaving a scorched hole that brings more attention.
In the past, a story had to be enjoyed enough to be passed around, recorded, duplicated, spread around, and kept. It meant something, it took time all in itself.
Now we have incredible information technology, a MUCH higher population, with a MUCH higher percentage of literacy. We create more new stuff each year than many of the past centuries could do.. in a century. New creatures, new tales, new ways to handle the old, churning out faster and faster, under demand of a massive public, who have a lot more free time than the purely agricultural societies ever had.
Having lamps to read by helps too.
As technology continues to eat jobs by doing more and more for us, our free time will become a bigger and bigger industry.
In a utopian future without wars, or any struggle for the necessities of life, (of course, this assumes that we're headed eventually for such a world) free time will demand amazing things, and the creative types will be overjoyed to be able to share their ideas! Write, sing, act, direct a video game, spend an hour painting a 90' mural on the side of a building for fun, erase it the next day, after backing it up.
In that world, where will the legends come from? Will new genius stand out in the massive crowds?
Or are we already feeling this? Go to amazon.com. See any books you haven't read yet? If you look hard enough, you might find a book that almost no one has read. It might very well be badly-publicized brilliance behind a bland cover.
Or it could be a 30-page Twilight fanfic written over the course of 3 days on an ipad while chemistry class was being boring.